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"Patent Pending" Kit/eBook Introduction
To help you better appreciate the nature and comprehensiveness of our "Patent Pending" Kit/inventor's guide we present for your review the actual eBook Introduction:
Individual inventors are often very creative, but are usually unsure which idea will turn into a viable product or method worth the costly investment of patent protection. What they are typically looking for is a very low cost initial protection that is referred to often as "Patent-Pending" status. In many situations, the wisest way to initially achieve this status is by way of a provisional patent application (PPA). With a Patent Pending status attained by way of a PPA, inventors can market test their invention before deciding to procure a much more costly regular, or utility, patent application (utility application). An inventor that is armed with knowledge about the basics of patent law regarding patent applications has the opportunity to prepare much, if not all, of their own provisional patent application (provisional application), thereby saving much money and having more control over the protection of his or her inventive efforts. As a result, it becomes more affordable to apply for more provisional applications, and get a year to explore which idea has some commercial value, and is worth investing in a utility application. Understandably, this economic incentive motivates many small business and individuals to choose the provisional application option. However, it is imperative for do-it-yourself individual inventors to understand that although any inventor can file their own provisional application (Pro Se), if the provisional does not satisfy a multitude of best practice and legal requirements, some or all of their patent protection rights can be easily lost. Hence, beyond the simple mechanics of preparing a provisional application, a goal of this eBook is to inform the do-it-yourself reader as to some of the more in-depth aspects associated with protecting their invention with a provisional application. The author believes that anyone can understand the basic concepts of patent law and practice if it is explained to them in plain English. Wherever practical, Federal Patent Laws, Rules, MPEP procedures, or USPTO notices have been either directly quoted, referenced, or transparently paraphrased into more readable language suitable for a general, lay audience. In this way, the reader is provided not only with information directly related with preparing the provisional application, but all the surrounding patent law issues that commonly, and not so commonly, arise during the invention process. The authors tone and style is not to avoid or sugar coat potentially complex information, but to present the information in plain English having a logical context and hierarchical depth that serves everyone from the layman to experienced inventors. That way, each reader can get as much, or as little information as he or she wants, and has the option to grow their knowledge about patent practice over time.
Inventors that are concerned about maximal patent protection of their invention, should not only focus on writing a legally valid application, but must also understand how to personally behave during the inventive process, and why. Otherwise, common (e.g., public disclosure or sale) and relatively rare (e.g., lack of diligence) problems can squander some or all of your investment and/or inventive efforts- in the proverbial spirit of An ounce of prevention is equal to a pound of cure. Some information is repeated, especial complex topics, in various sections for reinforcement when the sections are read sequentially, and for ease of accessibility for those reading sections out of sequence.
In the chapters that follow, you will be presented information that sets forth the necessary concepts to help you:
The reader is encouraged to pick and choose, in any order, the sections or chapters to read. Each section and chapter is designed to be largely independent of any others. However, references are usually indicted where there is prerequisite or more detailed material advantageous to read at any given point in a section. Also, if a word, acronym, or phase is not familiar to you, check out the glossary of patent terms in Appendix A, it may have what you are looking for. Also, the Index at the end of the eBook may prove helpful. Generally, the quality of the final provisional application will largely be determined by how well the application legally supports the later filed utility application claiming the benefit of the provisional. Drafting a provisional that most completely supports the broadest claim scope in the later filed utility application possible is a relatively complex task for a non-practitioner inventor seeking to do-it-yourself. Whether the non-practitioner is able to draft a sufficient provisional application, to some degree, also depends on his or her writing skills and patent goals. In the vast majority of cases, it is wise for the nonpractitioner to learn the basics of patent law, draft a provisional application according to this eBook, and have a registered patent practitioner review and/or revise your draft before filing the provisional application; thereby garnering potentially substantial savings compared to the practitioner having to draft the provisional from scratch, while assuring sufficient quality to be legally valid and useful. In this spirit, the author has included certain relevant material concerning utility patent practice that will help the reader appreciate the cause and effect relationship between what is done, or not done, in the provision and how that effects the utility application, or any resulting patent. The hope is that by understanding some aspects of what is at stake for any given issue, the reader will be motivated to make an even greater effort avoid the potential problem (including getting more information), or at least be given fair notice.
Quality Verses Cost Issues Explained
It is very understandable that not all inventors are willing or capable to invest upfront the full cost of having a patent practitioner prepare a utility patent application (utility application) for them. However, it is strongly recommended that a registered patent practitioner prepare and file a high quality utility application for commercially viable inventions. One problem, unfortunately, is that the commercial viability of an invention usually not clear at the time the decision to protect the invention must be made. This uncertainty and a great deal of misinformation drives many individual inventors to be penny-wise and dollar foolish by looking for the cheapest way, and not the optimal way to approach the invention protection problem. What is required is a more balanced approach that seeks to minimize the risks involved by leveraging the resources the individual inventor has to offer in an efficient manner.
There are basically three main variables involved in applying for protection of your invention, as follows:
Each inventor is going to have different levels and combinations of each of these attributes. In the worst case, an inventor will have little money, time, effort, and skill to put forth in protecting and developing there invention. The options are often very limited for such people because if it took little money, effort, or skill to profit from and protect an invention, everyone would be doing it, and that would simply kill the market, which is willing to pay for inventive ideas. The potential to make money from an invention is exactly because it is relatively difficult to discover an invention, develop it, and believe in it enough to invest your money, time, and skills for as long as necessary to protect the invention and at least make it marketable- to get above average result, requires an above average edge. It is important to identify, as an inventor, what your edge is. Is it money? Is it effort? Is it skill and knowledge? Once you know what combination and degree of these resources are, or can be, your strength, you will know where you stand, and have the opportunity to leverage your strengths to overcome your weaknesses, or even to focus on areas of weakness that you want to strengthen.
Some inventors might have a great deal of money, but little skill or interest in expending significant effort. In such a case, the best choice would be to hire a patent practitioner to completely handle the inventors case. In an opposite situation, an inventor might have very limited financial resources, but be willing to spend the time and effort necessary to use there lay skills to compensate. The present eBook will benefit these inventors the most. Not everyone will be motivated to cover all the information presented, and some will only follow the checklists and basic application preparation information, but that is OK. It is intended that this be a reference that will keep on giving throughout the invention protection and development process as situations and questions arise. It is the authors intent to comprehensively present all aspects of provisional patent application practice and related patent laws, rule, and procedures in a way that is accessible to everyone, and not just those that can read through hundreds of pages of dry legalese. The benefits are especially great for those who want to empower themselves with the kind of information that would take tens, if not hundreds, of hours to find and compile, or cost hundreds of dollars to learn on a case-by-case basis from a licensed practitioner.
The information herein presented is generally organized so that it is easy to separately access basic, general, and detailed information, according to the readers needs, and goals. The organization and content is further intended to ideally suit the inventor who wants to write there own draft that is close enough to being acceptable that a registered patent practitioner would only need to spend a little time (i.e., charge little money) to bring the draft provisional application into compliance with legal requirements and/or best patent practices. Significant effort has been made to fully support inventors who want to completely prepare and file their own provisional application. As mentioned above, if you want to save more money, you should likewise spend more effort and time to learn the important details about patent law and practice as it pertains to drafting and filing a legally valid provisional application. Hence, it is even more important for these inventors to read and validate all material presented, and carry out the necessary steps towards drafting a provisional application that is at least of minimum quality (i.e., an application that is legally valid, and fully supports the aspects of your invention you will claim in a later filed, corresponding utility application).
The reader is encouraged to locate a patent firm that is flexible enough in there patent practice to accommodate the inventors economic strategy with a provisional application approach that charges a relatively small fee to review and/or revise the inventors draft application, which is written according to the information and instructions presented herein. Such a firm should save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in preparing a relatively good quality provisional application.
One key point to understand regarding the preparation of a provisional application is to recognize that when we talk about a better, average, or minimum quality provisional application we mean to impart the general expectation that the less time spent on developing the provisional specification, the less likely that it will contain the necessary information to support the disclosure and/or claims in the future, corresponding utility application. This lack information could limit the claim scope (e.g., no searched prior-art to design around) or give rise to gaps in the specification (such as missing alternative embodiments) that would weaken a resulting patent if it ever went to litigation (albeit extremely unlikely) or was subject to a potential licensees evaluation. That is why it is desirable to have a registered patent practitioner ensure that your draft provisional application meets the minimum legal requirements. When at least the minimum legal requirements are met, the foregoing issues of quality due to low cost do not tend to prevent you from receiving a patent, but might weaken the awarded patents strength and value.
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